Romance University

Articles in November 2015

November 2nd, 2015
The colossal cushion-cut specimen you see here is the American Golden Topaz, the third-largest faceted gemstone in the world and a stellar example of November's official birthstone.

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Sourced in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and tipping the scales at a whopping 22,892 carats (10.09 lbs), the American Golden Topaz was cut by Leon Agee over a period of two years in the late 1980s from a 26-pound stream-rounded cobble owned by Drs. Marie L. and Edgar F. Borgatta.

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The final product has 172 facets, a warm honey-gold color and is the size of a honeydew melon, measuring 6.9 x 5.9 x 3.7 inches. The stone boasts a combination of uniform color and near-flawless clarity.

In 1988, the American Golden Topaz was donated to the Smithsonian Institute, and put on display in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals — one of the most popular galleries in the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

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According to the museum's website, topaz is renowned for its ability to grow huge gem-quality crystals. Shown here are two of the world's finest large topaz crystals, the 70-pound Lindsay Uncut Topaz and the 111-pound Freeman Uncut Topaz. In the foreground is the faceted American Golden Topaz. Each of the uncut specimens was also mined in Minas Gerais.

The American Golden Topaz is one of the world's most impressive examples of the popular family of gemstones that can be seen in a wide array of warm colors, including brownish-yellow, orange-yellow and reddish brown. It's also found in white, pale green, blue, gold and pink.

In addition to Brazil, topaz is mined in Mexico, Sri Lanka, Africa and China. Topaz is a talisman for the sign of Sagittarius and is the suggested gift for the 23rd or 50th wedding anniversary.

Photo (top) by ZakVTA via Flickr; Others © Smithsonian Institution.
November 3rd, 2015
Did you hear about the Manhattan couple who is suing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) after $95,000 in fine jewelry went missing from their checked luggage?

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According to the lawsuit, Natalie and Michael Hekmat's February flight from New York to Los Angeles turned into a nightmare when they discovered nine rings had vanished from a brown suede jewelry roll that had been packed into their locked luggage and checked at the curb with JetBlue.

Among the items were an $80,000 2.10-carat diamond ring, a $3,050 ring with brown diamonds, a $2,800 ring with black diamonds and a $2,350 amethyst ring.

Upon arriving in Los Angeles, the couple inspected the luggage and found that the suede roll was in the suitcase, but its contents had been taken. The Hekmats put in a claim for their loss, but it was denied by the TSA in May. The couple's next course of action was to file lawsuits in Manhattan federal court against the TSA and JetBlue.

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Of course, all of the drama could have been avoided if the couple had followed the simple advice of the TSA's official blogger, Bob Burns...
  • Under no circumstances should travelers pack their fine jewelry in checked luggage.
  • It’s perfectly OK to wear your fine jewelry through the checkpoint station. As long as the jewelry is not really bulky, travelers should keep their precious possessions on their bodies as they walk through metal detectors or high-tech imaging devices.
  • Fine jewelry items that are not worn should be placed in a carry-on bag that should never be left unattended.
  • Do not put your valuables in the plastic bowls that the TSA provides to hold smaller items, such as pocket change and money clips. Bowls can tip over on the conveyor belts, seemingly sending small jewelry into another dimension where it is never seen again, according to Burns.

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The Hekmats' case is not unusual. According to USA Today, the TSA paid out $3 million to passengers over the last five years to settle claims that airport security screeners broke, lost or stole their luggage or items inside, according to a review of about 50,000 complaints from 2010 to 2014.

Of those claims, the TSA agreed to make restitution on one-third of the total, with compensation ranging from a few dollars to many thousands of dollars. The TSA noted that the complaints represent just a tiny fraction of the 2.5 million pieces of baggage its agents screen every day. The math works out to about one incident per 90,000 pieces of luggage.

Back in 2006, the Duchess of Argyll made headlines when she lost $150,000 worth of jewelry in a checked-bag fiasco. The 68-year-old dowager duchess' luggage contained a Victorian diamond tiara, Cartier brooch, emerald ring and pearl earrings. She filed a complaint with the airport and police authorities, but the bag was never turned in… or at least that’s what the Duchess believed.

Apparently, the bag did resurface, but the airport auctioned the jewelry instead of making any effort to return the items to their rightful owner. The jewelry had been unloaded to a British diamond merchant for a mere $7,500 (exactly 5% of its value) and the proceeds were donated to charity. In 2012, the Duchess spotted her Cartier brooch in a Scottish auction catalog and promptly hired a lawyer to investigate. Airport authorities were embarrassed by a lost-luggage saga with high-profile implications.

After offering to reimburse the diamond merchant for his cooperation, operators of Glasgow Airport successfully reunited the Duchess with her brooch and tiara. The emerald ring and pearl earrings are still missing.

Here are a few more traveling tips from Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co...
  • Pack light and take only the jewelry you’ll wear while traveling and at your destination. The 4-carat diamond ring you save for special occasions? Probably not. The pearls that go with everything? Definitely.
  • List all the jewelry you’ll take with you. Make two copies. Take one copy with you and store it separately from your jewelry. Leave the other copy at home. Also helpful: take pictures or a video of your jewelry.
  • Never put jewelry in checked baggage. Instead, wear it or stow it in your carry-on bag. If you wear it, take extra care by slipping a pendant inside a sweater or turning your ring so only the band shows.
  • Put your jewelry in a favorite bag you’ll carry while traveling. Don’t leave your jewelry in an unattended car or suitcase. When checking into your hotel or condo, don’t hand your jewelry bag to hotel staff. Carry it personally.
  • Always store jewelry in the hotel safe when not wearing it.
  • Insure your personal jewelry against loss, damage, theft and mysterious disappearance wherever your travels take you, worldwide. So get the right insurance. Then relax, be yourself and have fun.

Credits: Getty Images.
November 4th, 2015
Victoria's Secret just unveiled the latest interpretation of its famous jewel-encrusted Fantasy Bra. The 2015 edition is valued at $2 million and features spiraling blasts of gemstones on both the bra and detachable belt.

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Among the 6,500 glistening gemstones are diamonds, yellow sapphires, blue topaz and pink quartz — all set in 18-karat gold. The total weight of the gemstones is 1,364 carats (more than a half pound).

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Lily Aldridge will be modeling the 2015 Fireworks Fantasy Bra during the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, airing on CBS on December 8. Last year's installment, featuring musical guest Taylor Swift, attracted 9.1 million viewers. Stepping into Swift's shoes this year will be Ellie Goulding.

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The 29-year-old Aldridge told PeopleStyle that the blinged-out bra was custom-fitted especially for her. Luxury jeweler Mouawad used a cast of the model's body to design the bra that would match her form exactly. The fabrication of the bejeweled bra, belt and panty ensemble took 685 hours.

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A veteran of six Victoria's Secret Fashion Shows, Aldridge seemed to be undaunted by the prospect of modeling a $2 million bra for a huge television audience. “I’m not scared," she told PeopleStyle. "I’m super excited and I’m anxious to just get on the runway and wear it and be in that moment.”

In a behind-the-scenes video shot in a photo studio, the model seems to be both anxious and thrilled to see the Fireworks Fantasy Bra for the first time. "I'm so nervous. It feels like I'm getting proposed to," she says.

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A moment later, she gets her first glimpse of the bejeweled bra, which is neatly displayed on a table in the studio. "Oh, my God," she exclaims. "It's so beautiful."

Then Aldridge gets giddy like a kid in a candy store. "Can I touch it? Will I, like, get hit by security?" she joked.

"It's stunning. It's beautiful. I love it," she said of the amazing attire that she will introduce to the world in December. Then she made a light-hearted request to the execs of the largest American retailer of lingerie: "Please, can I keep it, Victoria's Secret?"

Photos: Victoria's Secret.
November 5th, 2015
Billed as the most important pigeon's blood ruby to be offered at auction in Asia, the 15.04-carat "Crimson Flame" is the star of Christie’s Magnificent Jewels Sale, which will take place in Hong Kong on December 1. The auction house expects the gem to fetch between $10.1 million and $15.5 million.

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The cushion-shaped ruby is mounted in a white gold ring that features a dramatic surround of smaller cushion-shaped white diamonds. A report by the Swiss Gemmological Institute affirmed that the gem is of Burmese origin and exhibits a vivid, saturated crimson color — also known as pigeon's blood red. The report goes on to state that a natural ruby of this size and quality is very rare and should be considered an "exceptional treasure."

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Christie's obvious agreed, as the "Crimson Flame" earned the cover shot of the auction's official catalog.

Other notable lots also shine the spotlight on rubies...

“Mogok’s Fiery Red” suite by Faidee will be split into individual lots and sold separately. The first item is a ruby-and-diamond necklace carrying an estimated selling price of $6.2 million to $8.5 million. The second lot is a pair of ruby-and-diamond ear pendants with an estimate of $2.9 million to $4.1 million. The rubies of both items boast the coveted pigeon's blood color.

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The graduated necklace features 32 cushion-shaped rubies — ranging from 1.04 to 5.05 carats — alternating with cushion-shaped diamonds. They're mounted in platinum and gold with the largest gems in the front and smallest in the back.

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Each ear pendant is designed as a line of two cushion-shaped rubies, spaced by a cushion-shaped diamond. The larger rubies weigh a bit over 5 carats, while the smaller ruby of each ear pendant weighs about 2.5 carats. The diamonds in the middle weigh about 1.5 carats.

“Ruby appears to be a real star at Christie’s Hong Kong jewelry auctions this year,” said Vickie Sek, deputy chairman and director of Christie’s Asia jewelry department. “Following the record-breaking results achieved last spring by a fabulous Burmese ruby-and-diamond necklace by Etcetera, we will present the sensational Crimson Flame, undoubtedly the most important pigeon’s-blood ruby to come to auction in Asia.”

Back in June, the 120-carat ruby-and-diamond necklace by Etcetera sold for $13 million, setting a world auction record for a ruby necklace.

Credit: Christie's
November 6th, 2015
Welcome to another Music Friday Flashback, when we bring you classic tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we feature Seals & Crofts performing their Summer of '73 hit, "Diamond Girl."

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Using gemstone imagery to describe a girl who is perfect in their eyes, Jimmy Seals and Dash Crofts sing, "Diamond Girl - you sure do shine / Glad I found you - glad you're mine / Oh my love, you're like a precious stone / Part of earth where heaven has rained on."

The Texas-born Seals and Crofts are famous for their smooth — almost hypnotic — vocal harmonies, spiritual lyrics and a string of chart-toppers in the 1970s. Their songs are said to be influenced by the teachings of the Bahá'í faith.

Coming off their success with "Summer Breeze" in 1972, the duo was back in the studio one year later with "Diamond Girl."

Released as the title track of Seals & Crofts fifth studio album, Diamond Girl, the single reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The album also was a huge success, as it rose to #4 on the Billboard 200 chart. A second charting single from the album was "We May Never Pass This Way Again," which topped out at #21.

The duo had a strong run through the 1970s, but disbanded in 1980. They reunited briefly in 1991 and then again in 2004, when they released their final album, Traces.

Seals & Crofts' fans may not know that Jim Seals is the brother of Dan Seals, who was "England Dan" in the duo England Dan and John Ford Coley ("I'd Really Love to See You Tonight," 1976). Another interesting bit of trivia: Seals and Crofts both belonged to the group The Champs ("Tequila," 1958) in the late 1950s and early 1960s, before going out on their own.

Please check out the video of Seals & Crofts' live performance of "Diamond Girl," a song that still shines like a precious stone. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Diamond Girl"
Written by Jim Seals and Dash Crofts. Performed by Seals & Crofts.

Diamond Girl - you sure do shine
Glad I found you - glad you're mine
Oh my love, you're like a precious stone
Part of earth where heaven has rained on

Makes no difference where you are
Day or nighttime you're like a shinin' star
And how could I shine without you
When it's about you that I am

Diamond Girl - roamin' wild
Such a rare thing - radiant child
I could never find another one like you
Part of me is deep down inside you

Can't you feel the whole world's a-turnin'
We are real and we are a-burnin'
Diamond Girl now that I've found you
It's around you that I am

Diamond Girl - you sure do shine
Diamond Girl - you sure do shine
Diamond Girl - you sure do shine
Diamond Girl - you sure do shine


Credit: By Warner Brothers Records, via Wikimedia Commons.
November 9th, 2015
For all the years we've been blogging, we've never encountered a story about a wisdom tooth being used for jewelry. Then, within the course of a week, there were two.

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First, we learned about the California man whose romantic Halloween marriage proposal featured an engagement ring set — not with a traditional diamond — but with his own wisdom tooth. Then, on Saturday, Victoria's Secret model Behati Prinsloo posted to Instagram a photo of her latest piece of jewelry — a recently extracted wisdom tooth mounted as a pendant.

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While some might see the wisdom tooth as a novel jewelry idea, others might think this unusual precious-stone substitute borders on the grotesque.

In California, Lucas Ungar delighted his girlfriend Carlee Leifkes when he presented her with a wisdom tooth engagement ring on Halloween. The 23-year-old Ungar had the tooth extracted when he was 17. Last Monday, their story was picked up by BuzzFeed.com and grew viral overnight. The Huffington Post did a followup on Wednesday, and that same evening the couple became the subject of a spot on CNN by national news correspondent Jeanne Moos.

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Moos reported that Leifkes loved the idea that something on her finger grew inside her fiancé's body. “Yeah, and I’m happy I get to wear that every day,” Leifkes told CNN.

“Nobody will have this ring because it’s a piece of him," she told The Huffington Post. "No two people are the same — same goes for our ring!”

Leifkes clarified that the tooth had been professionally cleaned and coated before it was set in the ring. It also seems as if the root stem has been sliced off, leaving only the crown of the tooth, which is set with four prongs.

From a jeweler's perspective, however, the concept of a wisdom tooth center stone is fraught with potential problems. Certainly tooth enamel is a durable substance, but it has a Mohs hardness rating of only 5 — on par with turquoise or opal, two of the softer precious gemstones.

In fact, enamel is much softer than the more traditional bridal gems, such as diamond (10 on the Mohs scale), sapphire (9) or ruby (9). Also, the enamel accounts for only the surface of the tooth. The interior is made from dentin, which has a hardness of only 3-4. The bottom line is that, although it's an avant-garde idea, a tooth center stone is relatively soft, brittle and — when worn everyday as an engagement ring — will probably not last very long.

Prinsloo's wisdom tooth jewelry should have a more successful outcome, because it will be worn as a pendant and will be free from the daily wear and tear normally encountered by a ring.

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Instagram followers of Prinsloo may remember a series of Instagram posts from August when the model and wife of Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine was recovering from a painful tooth extraction. She also shared a comical video of her singing The Weeknd's hit, "I Can't Feel My Face." In both the photo and video, she seems to be under the influence of pain killers and has an ice pack wrapped around her face.

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On Saturday, the 26-year-old Prinsloo was back on Instagram, proudly showing off her newest bling to 2.6 million followers. "I dipped my wisdom in gold [smiley face emoji] #boom," Prinsloo wrote alongside a photo of her gold-plated tooth necklace. The crown of the tooth remains natural, but the root is plated in gold.

The Instagram post generated more than 1,200 comments within 24 hours. Most of them seemed to be in support of Prinsloo' vision, while others voiced their disgust. Instagram user daniellatello decided to sit on the fence: "So gross yet so cool," she wrote.

Prinsloo will be a featured model at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, which will air on December 8 on CBS.

Credits: Carlee Leifkes; Instagram/BahatiPrinsloo. Instagram/AdamLevine.
November 10th, 2015
It's certainly fitting that Derek Jeter, one of the classiest athletes of his generation, would bestow a "classic" engagement ring on his model girlfriend Hannah Davis. With a center diamond believed to be between 4 and 6 carats in weight, the dazzling ring is estimated to be worth as much as $300,000.

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The platinum ring features a round center diamond set in a simple band adorned with smaller pavé diamonds. Jewelry-industry insiders have called the ring "timeless," "elegant," "traditional" and, of course, "gorgeous."

“Jeter knocked it out of the park on this ring," Mark Keeney, VP of Marketing at Ritani, told HollywoodLife.com.

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The notoriously private, 41-year-old former shortstop of the New York Yankees rarely talks about his personal life, but early last week, news of his engagement to the statuesque, 5' 10" Sports Illustrated supermodel could be kept under wraps no longer.

Last Monday, Davis and her ring were spotted by the paparazzi while she was strolling down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan with her mother. The eagle-eyed photographer reportedly earned $25,000 for scoring the first shot of the Jeter/Davis engagement ring. Vogue.com commented that "passersby were likely blinded by the bling."

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Then, on Tuesday, the 25-year-old beauty was photographed more formally on the red carpet at the Country Music Awards in Arlington, Texas. This time, the ring was in plain view and the photogs snapped a number of clear closeup shots.

Also on Tuesday, Jeter mentioned his "fiancée" in an essay he wrote for ThePlayersTribune.com. In a story about his 100-pound mastiff, Kane, he noted, "I had no idea what I was in for as a new dog owner. [The dog] was a Christmas gift last year from my fiancée, whose family had Mastiffs growing up. I’ve never owned a pet in my life.”

A couple since 2012, Jeter and Davis have been engaged since last month, according to Entertainment Tonight. PageSix.com reported that the traditional Jeter had asked Davis' parents for their blessing and proposed on the day that marked exactly three years since they first started dating.

Jeter, who played with the Yankees for 20 seasons, is a five-time World Series champion and 14-time All-Star. He retired after the 2014 season. Davis, who made her mark as a swimsuit model for Sports Illustrated, recently appeared in a series of commercials for DirecTV.

Credits: Getty Images.
November 11th, 2015
The famous 105-carat "Koh-i-Noor" diamond, which has been part of the British Crown Jewels for 165 years, soon may be plucked from the Crown of Queen Elizabeth and returned to India — if a group of Bollywood stars succeed in their lawsuit against the UK.

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An Indian group calling itself "Mountain of Light" (the literal translation of "koh-i-noor") is demanding the return of the near-perfect gemstone with deep historical roots in the Indian sub-continent.

The gem was unearthed at India's Kollur Mine in the 13th century. In its rough form, the stone weighed 793 carats — about the size of a hen's egg.

Over the centuries, the diamond passed through the hands of numerous invaders, including Persian ruler Nadir Shah, who gave the precious stone its current name in the 1700s. In 1850, it was presented to Queen Victoria by the last ruler of the Sikh Empire, the 13-year-old Tulip Singh.

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The claimants are arguing that the generous "gift" was delivered under dubious circumstances. Today, the Koh-i-Noor is estimated to be worth in excess of $150 million.

“The Koh-i-Noor is not just a 105-carat stone, but part of our history and culture and should undoubtedly be returned,” said Bollywood star Bhumicka Singh.

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The Mountain of Light group timed its lawsuit to coincide with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first official visit to the UK, during which he will meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

RT.com reported that the litigants are basing their legal argument on Britain's Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act of 2009, which gives national institutions the authority to return to their rightful owners objects that were unlawfully acquired.

Parties on both sides of the dispute have chimed in with passionate statements.

“Colonization did not only rob our people of wealth," said Indian businessman David De Souza, "it destroyed the country’s psyche itself. It brutalized society, traces of which linger on today in the form of mass poverty, lack of education and a host of other factors.”

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Countered British historian Andrew Roberts in a comment to the Daily Mail, "Those involved in this ludicrous case should recognize that the British Crown Jewels is precisely the right place for the Koh-i-Noor diamond to reside, in grateful recognition for over three centuries of British involvement in India, which led to the modernization, development, protection, agrarian advance, linguistic unification and ultimately the democratization of the sub-continent.”

This is not the first time India has made a claim on the Koh-i-Noor. Back in 2013, British Prime Minister David Cameron rejected the notion of the diamond returning to India, saying that he did not believe in "returnism."

This past August, we reported on the efforts of British lawmaker Keith Vaz, who said it was time for the Queen Mother to return the Koh-i-Noor diamond to India because it was a sore symbol of Britain’s colonial past.

“What a wonderful moment it would be, if and when Prime Minister Modi finishes his visit, he returns to India with the promise of the diamond’s return,” said Vaz.

Credits: Getty Images.
November 12th, 2015
The much-ballyhooed Blue Moon diamond set an all-time record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a gemstone when an anonymous Hong Kong bidder captured the coveted 12.03-carat gem for a jaw-dropping $48.5 million at Sotheby's Geneva.

The buyer renamed the stone "The Blue Moon of Josephine," which was curious, because only one day earlier at Christie's Geneva, an unnamed Hong Kong bidder paid $28.5 million for a pink diamond and named it "Sweet Josephine." The Associated Press later reported that the unnamed buyer of both gems was, in fact, Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau, who has a young daughter named Josephine.

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The internally flawless, fancy vivid blue diamond — originally named "Blue Moon" for the fact that a specimen of this size, color and clarity comes around only once in a blue moon — beat out the 24.68-carat, $46.15 million Graff Pink, which had held the "highest price" title since 2010.

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When the hammer went down on the final lot at Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale yesterday, the cushion-shaped Blue Moon had also smashed the auction record for the highest price ever paid per carat for any gemstone. The previous mark, established by the vivid blue 9.75-carat Zoe Diamond in November 2014 at $3.3 million per carat, was obliterated by the Blue Moon, which achieved $4.02 million per carat.

The Blue Moon's selling price was in the upper-middle range of Sotheby's pre-sale estimate of $35 million to $55 million.

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Only a day earlier at rival Christie's Geneva, a rare cushion-shaped 16.08-carat pink diamond sold for $28.5 million ($1.7 million per carat), setting an auction record for any vivid pink diamond. The gem's selling price slightly exceeded the auction house's estimate of $23 million to $28 million. The winning bid was placed by a private Hong collector, who has since been identified as billionaire Lau.

But the biggest news coming out of Geneva was the record-breaking sale of the Blue Moon. Among the largest known fancy vivid blue diamonds, the Blue Moon demonstrates the highest possible color grading for blue diamonds. A GIA Monograph grading report described the hue of the diamond as “likely to have never before been seen within such a large diamond, or any gemstone.”

"For me the Blue Moon was always the blue diamond of my career," said David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division. "I've never seen a more beautiful stone – its shape, color and purity. It's a magical stone."

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Unearthed in January by Petra Diamonds Ltd. at its legendary Cullinan mine in South Africa, the 29.6-carat rough was heralded at the time as “one of the most important blue diamonds ever recovered” by Petra chief executive Johan Dippenaar. In February, luxury jeweler Cora International purchased the rough gem for $25.6 million. Six months later, the company unveiled its 12.03-carat internally flawless cushion-cut blue masterpiece.

Blue diamonds get their color from trace amounts of boron in their chemical makeup. Colorless diamonds, by comparison, are pure carbon with no trace elements.

Credits: Sotheby's; Christie's; Video screen captures via sothebys.com and corainternational.com.
November 13th, 2015
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fabulous songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In 1976, music legend Billy Joel said goodbye to Hollywood and returned to a New York state of mind. His wistful farewell to an L.A. lifestyle of fine jewelry, silk robes and caviar, is chronicled in the beautiful, but unheralded, "I've Loved These Days."

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Joel sings, "Now as we indulge in things refined / We hide our hearts from harder times / A string of pearls, a foreign car / Oh we can only go so far / On caviar and cabernet."

"The song is essentially one man’s farewell to a lifestyle that is as alluring as it is unsustainable," wrote Jim Beviglia in his 2012 review in American Songwriter.

"I've Loved These Days" made its debut on side two of Turnstiles, Joel's fourth studio album. It appeared again 24 years later as the eighth track on disc one of 2000 Years: The Millennium Concert. Although it never was released as a single, Joel continues to perform "I've Loved These Days" to sold-out concert audiences.

Turnstiles marked a critical turning point in Joel's career — a time when he started to take control of his creative process.

“I produced it myself, which, in hindsight, was probably not a good idea," Joel told WNYC, "but I didn’t want people telling me what band to work with, how to do the songs. I wanted to do it my way.”

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Take a look at the cover photo for Turnstiles and you will see Joel and an array of characters posing at the Astor Place subway station in New York City. Each character is linked with one of the songs from the album. The wealthy couple represents "I've Loved These Days" and specifically the life he left behind in Los Angeles.

The 66-year-old Joel, who was born in the Bronx and raised on Long Island, is one of the most prolific and successful recording artists of all time, with more than 150 million records sold worldwide. Boasting 33 Top 40 hits and 23 Grammy nominations, Joel was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.

Please check out Joel's live performance of "I've Loved These Days" from 2000 Years: The Millennium Concert, a two-disc set that was recorded on New Year's Eve 1999 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The music was provided to YouTube by Sony Music Entertainment. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"I've Loved These Days"
Written and performed by Billy Joel.

Now we take our time, so nonchalant
And spend our nights so bon vivant
We dress our days in silken robes
The money comes
The money goes
We know it's all a passing phase

We light our lamps for atmosphere
And hang our hopes on chandeliers
We're going wrong, we're gaining weight
We're sleeping long and far too late
And so it's time to change our ways
But I've loved these days

Now as we indulge in things refined
We hide our hearts from harder times
A string of pearls, a foreign car
Oh we can only go so far
On caviar and cabernet

We drown our doubts in dry champagne
And soothe our souls with fine cocaine
I don't know why I even care
We'll get so high and get nowhere
We'll have to change our jaded ways
But I've loved these days

So before we end and then begin
We'll drink a toast to how it's been
A few more hours to be complete
A few more nights on satin sheets
A few more times that I can say
I've loved these days


Credit: Columbia
November 16th, 2015
A Southern California bride-to-be offered hugs and heartfelt thank-yous to a team of city workers who rescued her engagement ring and diamond stud earrings from a sewer line only one day after she accidentally flushed her keepsakes down the toilet.

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Last Monday, Carissa Wolter had removed her halo-style diamond engagement ring and diamond stud earrings and wrapped them in toilet tissue while she was cleaning her makeup brushes in the bathroom. Then she used additional tissues to wipe down the surfaces and clean the sink. Soon, she had amassed a pile of dirty tissues, which she promptly tossed in the toilet and flushed.

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Within 30 seconds, the Jurupa Valley resident experienced a nauseating feeling in the pit of her stomach when she realized she had done the unthinkable. She had flushed her cherished engagement ring and diamond studs into the sewer system.

"I was walking back to my room and went to put my ring on," she told KTLA. "Then I just stopped and was like, 'No way.'"

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Fiancé Kevin Winter was surprisingly calm after learning the fate of the engagement ring. "My heart dropped at first, but then I kept reassuring her that it was OK — things happen, accidents happen," he told KTLA.

The couple turned to the internet to learn the best way to retrieve jewelry from a toilet. They decided the first course of action should be to disassemble the commode, but when that strategy failed to yield the jewelry, they were forced back to the drawing board.

"I didn't know how I would get them back but I was determined to, even if I had to dig in the sewer myself," she told Buzzfeed.com. "My ring means too much to me to just let it go and give up so easily."

All the time, the couple was aware that the toilet should not be flushed again, so the jewelry wouldn't get pushed further down the sewer line.

The next morning, they called the Jurupa Community Services District (JCSD), which quickly sent out a team to set up a trap in the sewer lines leading away from Wolter's home. Then the sewer workers flushed the line to propel the jewelry into the trap. The strategy worked perfectly, as the jewelry was yanked from the sewer system about two houses down the block.

"I started crying instantly and just wanted to hug them and thank them so much," Wolter told KTLA. "I still can't thank them enough for returning my jewelry."

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The proud municipal workers posted a photo of the recovered jewelry on the JCSD Twitter page. In the photo is a worker wearing rubber gloves holding the recovered engagement ring and earrings. The jewelry was a tad gunky, but otherwise unharmed.

A representative from JCSD told ABC News, "A ring like that is very important and we're just happy we were able to do the best to successfully recover it."

Wolter told KTLA that her new strategy for keeping her bridal jewelry safe is to never take it off again.

Credits: Screen captures via KTLA; Twitter/JCSD.
November 17th, 2015
Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Rolfe Arnhym was reunited last week — just in time for Veteran's Day — with a 1953 West Point class ring he hadn't seen in 49 years.

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The karat gold ring featuring an amber-colored center stone was the 85-year-old Tampa native's favorite piece of jewelry. He wore it during his wedding ceremony and took it to battle when he served in Vietnam. Arnhym remembered vividly how he almost lost the center stone during a mission in 1966.

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"When I was on a combat operation, something made me look down at my class ring, and I noticed that the stone was gone from the ring," Arnhym told Fox 13 in Tampa. "I said something to my radio operator, who was right next to me. Here we are in triple canopy jungle [with] stuff going on and we couldn't see that far in front of us. We looked down and that stone was at his feet."

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While on leave in Hawaii, the lieutenant visited a local jeweler to try to get the stone reset. The jeweler promised to send him the repaired jewelry via mail, but the ring never made it back to basecamp. Heartbroken over the loss of the cherished ring, Arnhym arranged for an exact replica, which he has worn for nearly five decades.

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“I thought about it. I wondered about it," Arnhem told WFLA. "I had no idea where it could have been.”

Then in August, Arnhem received a phone call from Ruth Pendergraft, the widow of a soldier who died in Vietnam. Pendergraft had been sorting through some of the belongings of her late husband when she encountered a West Point class ring with a yellow center stone. The inscription was not that of her husband's name. It said, "Rolfe Arnhym."

“I had to do something. I had to find the relative or the person who owned this ring," she said. "I knew it had to be special to the owner, but in my mind, I didn’t think he was still alive.”

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The widow from Joplin, Mo., contacted West Point, which was able to connect her with Arnhym. On Tuesday of last week, on the eve of Veteran's Day, she traveled to Tampa to return the ring to the man who last saw the ring nearly five decades ago.

"I couldn't believe it," Arnhym told Fox 13.

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During the presentation, which attracted local and national press coverage, the former soldier proudly displayed both of his West Point class rings.

It's still not clear how and when Pendergraft's husband received Arnhym's ring, but that twist in the story was of little concern to Arnhym.

For Arnhym, a class ring comprises far more than the gold, gems and inscription. "It’s a physical manifestation of a strong bond and link that exists between each graduate and West Point and with each one of our classmates," he said. "That bond only grows stronger over the years.”

Credits: Screen captures via wfla.com, fox13news.com.
November 18th, 2015
Step into the lab of Professor David Phillips of the University of Melbourne and you might find him armed with a mallet, bashing an 8-carat rough diamond into a material that looks like beach sand. By pulverizing a diamond and analyzing its inclusions, Phillips believes he can root out the diamond's original source — the mother lode.

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Phillips, who is a geologist and head of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne, requires research specimens that have small imperfections. The 8-carat gem destroyed in the images below, for instance, had two tiny green inclusions, which were actually a green mineral called clinopyroxene.

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The only way to get to the inclusions is to turn the diamond into dust. This is accomplished with a heavy duty plunger/battering device. The diamond is put in the receptacle. A plunger is placed over the diamond and then the professor takes a heavy mallet and gives it a good smack. Diamonds are the hardest material known to man, but they do fracture under this type of force.

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The mineral clinopyroxene contains small amounts of radioactive potassium, which can be dated. Phillips is not trying to reveal when the diamond was formed, but, more importantly, when it was propelled 100 miles to the surface via a volcanic eruption. This is when the diamond picked up its trace elements.

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Over time, diamonds from a single eruption may spread vast distances by way of erosion, glaciers or even continental drift.

But, armed with the age of the volcanic eruption, Phillips can match the diamond to known geological events. “It’s like looking for a unique word in War and Peace," he said, "and instead of having to search the whole book, you only have to look through a handful of pages.”

According to the University of Melbourne's website, Phillips and his colleagues previously dated clinopyroxene inclusions in diamonds found on the Namibian coast and showed that they likely originated from the erosion of volcanoes more than 400 miles inland. It's likely the diamonds slowly migrated to the coast by river.

Impressed by this ground-breaking research, diamond exploration companies, such as Namakwa Diamonds, have donated sizable diamonds to be sacrificed in Phillips' lab in the name of science. The value of the 8-carat rough diamond in the video is about $4,500, a very modest sum compared to the enormous benefits associated with pinpointing a mother lode.

Professor Phillips' research may help diamond exploration along the west coast of southern Africa and in the Wolmaransstad area of North West Province, South Africa — two areas with rich deposits of diamonds, but where the source is still unknown.

Check out the video of Professor Phillips taking a mallet to the 8-carat diamond rough.


Source: University of Melbourne.
November 19th, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin received an unusual gift for his 63rd birthday on October 7. It was a 3,055-carat, four-inch-tall blue sapphire carved with a 3D rendering of his own likeness.



The Putin sapphire was designed and created by eccentric inventor Victor Petrik, who has devised an automated method to carve dimensional images into gemstones of any hardness, including diamonds.

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The impressive finished product starts off as a traditional putty or wax carving. How the art transfers to the gemstone is still a bit of a mystery, although he noted in a press release that laser and ultrasound technologies are not used.

The Russian-born Petrik, who has been called a "modern-day Thomas Edison" by admirers, and other unflattering names by his detractors, is famous for a number of his previous inventions that raised eyebrows in scientific circles.

These include a cell which generates electricity when breathed upon, a filter which turns radioactive waste into potable water, a device which extracts rhenium from scrap material, and a compound which turns light into electricity.

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Petrik's Putin sapphire is just one of 90 such portraits rendered in 3D on rubies, sapphires, topazes and other natural or synthetic gems. Among the previous subjects have been President George H. W. Bush, Mahatma Gandhi, Pope John Paul II and Jesus Christ. More examples can be seen here...

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The Putin portrait measures 3.93 x 3.5 x 1.73 inches and weighs 1.3 pounds. Despite the singular dark blue tone of the sapphire, the portrait carries a surprising variety of overtones.

Said Petrik of the the portrait: "Millions of years will pass, everything will be destroyed, but the portrait of the President of Russia on sapphire will shine in the rays of the everlasting sun."

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Back in July, we profiled master sculptor Wallace Chan, who uses a special technique — aptly named The Wallace Cut — to create a three-dimensional image in a gemstone that seems to be looking in several directions at once.

Using a dentist’s drill with a specially adapted blade, the 59-year-old Chinese master sculptor cuts into the unfaceted back of a gemstone to render a subject that seems to be floating within the gemstone.

Credits: PRNewsFoto/Soli Art Limited, UK; Wallace Chan image courtesy of Wallace Chan.
November 20th, 2015
Welcome to a very special edition of Music Friday. Today, we celebrate the amazing discovery of a 1,111-carat rough diamond — the largest gem-quality diamond recovered in more than 100 years — with the most iconic "diamond" song of all time, "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend." Joining us in the musical tribute to the amazing gem is the equally spectacular Marilyn Monroe.

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But first, here's the scoop about the diamond...

Second in size only to the Cullinan diamond, which was discovered in 1905 and weighed 3,106.75 carats, the 1,111-carat Type IIa diamond extracted from Lucara's Karowe Mine in Botswana is about the size of a tennis ball and weighs nearly a half pound. It's rated Type IIa, the most chemically pure of all diamond types.

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While the Cullinan diamond was subsequently cut into nine major stones and 96 smaller ones, the fate of the Lucara find has yet to be determined. Typically, diamond companies would use computerized scanning technology to determine how to divide the stone to yield the most profitable outcome. The 1,111-carat gem is reportedly too big for Lucara's scanner, so it will have to be transported to Antwerp, where larger equipment is available.

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Experts were hard-pressed to guess what a stone of this size could be worth. In July, Lucara sold a 341.9-carat Type IIa rough diamond for $20.6 million. The latest find is more than three times that size. Lucara is likely to sell the stone at a tender in Botswana in the first half of 2016, but the cutting, polishing and sale of the final yield could take years, according to experts.

In other strokes of good luck for Lucara, the mining company announced it discovered two other enormous diamonds at the Karowe Mine, one weighing 813 carats and the second weighing 374 carats.

Now back to our song...

An iconic member of our Music Friday list, “Diamonds Are Girl’s Best Friend” was introduced to America via the 1949 Broadway debut of the musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The original singer was Carol Channing, but it’s Marilyn Monroe’s sultrier version (even if it does have a little dubbing of high notes) from the 1953 movie version that garnered the most attention and the most imitators.

Singers from Lena Horne to Christina Aguilera have covered the song. Madonna’s “Material Girl,” a song of similar sentiments, prompted a video that parodied Monroe’s scene from the movie. Since music lovers of any age can at least hum a few bars, it’s no wonder the American Film Institute named this the 12th most important film song of all time.

Check out Monroe's iconic performance of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in the video below. Here are the lyrics if you'd like to sing along...

"Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"
Written by Jule Styne and Leo Robin. Performed by Marilyn Monroe.

The French are glad to die for love.
They delight in fighting duels
But I prefer a man who lives
And gives expensive jewels.
A kiss on the hand
May be quite continental,
But diamonds are a girl's best friend.

A kiss may be grand
But it won't pay the rental
On your humble flat
Or help you at the automat.

Men grow cold
As girls grow old,
And we all lose our charms in the end.

But square-cut or pear-shaped,
These rocks don't lose their shape.
Diamonds are a girl's best friend.

Tiffany's!
Cartier!
Black Starr!
Frost Gormham!
Talk to me Harry Winston.
Tell me all about it!

There may come a time
When a lass needs a lawyer,
But diamonds are a girl's best friend.

There may come a time
When a hard-boiled employer
Thinks you're awful nice,
But get that ice or else no dice.

He's your guy
When stocks are high,
But beware when they start to descend.

It's then that those louses
Go back to their spouses.
Diamonds are a girl's best friend.

I've heard of affairs
That are strictly platonic,
But diamonds are a girl's best friend.

And I think affairs
That you must keep Masonic
Are better bets
If little pets get big baguettes.

Time rolls on,
And youth is gone,
And you can't straighten up when you bend.

But stiff back
Or stiff knees,
You stand straight at Tiffany's.

Diamonds! Diamonds!
I don't mean rhinestones!
But diamonds are a girl's best friend.


Credits: Diamond photos courtesy of Lucara; Marilyn Monroe screen capture via YouTube.com.
November 23rd, 2015
A 6,600-year-old 24-karat gold pendant found at the archaeological site of Solnitsata in Bulgaria could be the world's oldest bling.

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The 2-gram pendant reflects the skill of a complex prehistoric society — possibly one of the first to work out how to process and produce gold goods, according to Professor Vassil Nikolov of the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

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"What's interesting regarding the gold jewel... is that it wasn't discovered inside one of the graves but between them, which might testify to some kind of a more special ritual," said Nikolov in an interview with Cherno More agency. "In any case, this jewel is another specimen of the art of jewelry making that was developed at the time."

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The scientists believe the jewelry was worn as a pendant, most likely hanging from a cord. They are not sure, however, if the jewelry was worn by men, women or both. Either way, they believe the jewelry was a symbol of social status, the Daily Mail reported.

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The fortress of Solnitsata is believed to date back to 4,300 BC, but Nikolov believes the gold pendant could be even 200 or 300 years older than that, making it the oldest processed gold ever found in Europe.

Solnitsata, which literally means "salt pit," has been dubbed as “Europe’s oldest prehistoric town.” Scientists were surprised to learn about a highly developed civilization that specialized in the production of salt. Salt, at the time, was used as currency and exported to distant markets. (Neat trivia: "Salary" is derived from the word "salt.")

The residents of the town apparently used ceramic vessels and large domed kilns to boil water from a local saltwater spring. The resulting salt bricks were used for the preservation of meat.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube/News Worldwide/Trud Daily; Google Maps.
November 24th, 2015
Reasoning that it only makes sense that "we get something amazing to show how amazing we are," Kim Kardashian reveals in a recent blog post that she's finally on board with the idea of "push presents" — the gifts mothers get from their partners after giving birth. And her ideal gift? A $1 million diamond choker.

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Even though Kardashian received an impressive collection of gold bracelets as gifts from hubby Kanye West for her first pregnancy, she led off her blog post with this question, "Do you guys believe in a push present? I never did, but all of my friends do!!!"

Now, it seems the reality star has a new point of view.

"We women go through an entire pregnancy carrying a baby..." she noted in a post to her "Obsessed" blog. "Of course it only makes sense that we get something amazing to show how amazing we are! LOL!"

Specifically, Kardashian has her eyes on a stunning piece that she's borrowed in the past from designer Lorraine Schwartz. Kardashian was reportedly due to give birth in December, but could be induced as early as Thanksgiving.

“This pregnancy, I would love a Lorraine Schwartz diamond choker, like the ones I’ve worn before to the Art + Film Gala,” she wrote.

Perhaps sensing that a $1 million gift may be a tad too demanding, she asked her readers, "Too much? LOL!"

Style expert Michael O’Connor told Yahoo Parenting that the type of necklace Kardashian posted to her blog would likely cost between $500,000 to $750,000, but could easily be $1 million depending on a few factors, including the type of precious metal, size and quality of the diamonds, and whether the diamonds go all the way around the piece.

As we noted earlier, this will be the second time she's received a push present — assuming Kanye West is following his wife's blog and does, indeed, honor the arrival of their newborn son with the choker of her dreams.

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Back in January of 2013, West gifted his then-pregnant wife with a wrist full of Cartier bracelets. The five gold bracelets were reportedly worth $65,000. Kardashian received her push presents early, as baby North wasn't born until June.

Credits: Instagram/Kim Kardashian
November 25th, 2015
Imagine plunging your fork into the stuffing of your Thanksgiving dinner and pulling out a 2-carat diamond engagement ring. That scene could play out for up to three couples who take advantage of The Old Homestead Steakhouse's $45,000 dinner package.

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The seven-course meal for a party of eight includes a mountain of luxury gifts, including two tickets to grandstand seats at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a $7,500 Black Friday shopping spree at Bergdorf Goodman, a two-night stay at the Waldorf and a dancing lesson at Fred Astaire Dance Studio. A videographer will be on hand to capture the moment of the marriage proposal and, yes, limousine service will be provided to whisk the couple throughout the city.

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The principles of the famous 147-year-old New York City restaurant are taking great precautions to make sure the bride-to-be doesn't consume her ring. A waiter will be stationed nearby to make sure the discovery occurs without a hitch.

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“We’re going to conceal the ring so that it’s not obvious,” owner Marc Sherry told Forbes.com. “We want her to actually feel something with her fork.”

Sherry noted that the ring would feature a 2-carat emerald-cut diamond, but the engagement bling used in the Forbes.com photoshoot appears to be a pear-shaped diamond.

Nevertheless, Sherry explained that he came up with the clever "hide-the-engagement-ring-in-the-stuffing" concept after watching so many guests proposing at his restaurant over the years.

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Sherry accurately noted that Thanksgiving weekend kicks off the proposal season that runs until Valentine’s Day.

"Too many guys wing it on Thanksgiving when it comes to popping the question,” he explained to the New York Daily News. “They could use a little creativity, so we're planning everything from soup to nuts — and the engagement ring, too."

He compared the excitement of finding a ring in a turkey dinner at his restaurant to popping the question at other famous New York venues.

“It’s along the lines of people who propose on the mound at Yankee Stadium or at the top of the Empire State Building, something really different,” he said.

The dinner itself features the following culinary delights...

• Two 20-pound, free-range, organically raised turkeys seasoned with saffron and basted in artisanal, locally produced butter;
• Stuffing infused with one pound of foie gras, two pounds of Wagyu beef and four sourdough loaves;
• Mashed potatoes made with Swedish Moose House Cheese;
• Pappy Van Winkle bourbon-infused gravy;
• Cranberry-orange relish, featuring cranberries that have been soaked in Grand Marnier;
• Sweet potatoes topped with Royal Osetra 000 caviar;
• Butternut squash covered in winter black truffles;
• Pumpkin ice cream served with a $4,200 bottle of private reserve rum-infused eggnog sauce and edible, 24-karat gold flakes;
• Cristal and Dom Perignon champagnes, Opus One and Silver Oak wines (a six-liter bottle) and a 40-year-old Taylor port.

Credits: Screen captures via forbes.com.
November 27th, 2015
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, we have Canadian recording artist Avril Lavigne performing "Fly," a power ballad inspired by the athletes of the Special Olympics.

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In this song about having the inner strength to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges, Lavigne metaphorically states that "we were all meant to fly," and compares the discovery of one's special ability to unearthing a precious stone.

In the first verse, she sings, "There's a light inside of all of us / It's never hiding you just have to light it / It's the one thing that you gotta trust / It's like a diamond, you just have to find it."

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Lavigne, 31, performed "Fly" live for the first time during the stirring opening ceremonies of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles. In the video, below, we see athletes representing Nepal, Nigeria, Mongolia, Iran, Israel, Cuba and the U.S. in the final leg of a 5,000-mile torch relay that culminates with the lighting of the cauldron.

Proceeds from the song benefited the Special Olympics in association with The Avril Lavigne Foundation, a charity provides support to children and youth living with serious illnesses or disabilities.

"This song means a lot to me personally," said Lavigne. "It is inspired by the many young people I've met throughout my work with my Foundation. They pursue their dreams no matter what obstacles they face."

"Special Olympics' mission is to unleash the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports," she added, "so they're a natural fit for this song."

In 2014, Lavigne herself was faced with a daunting physical challenge when she was struck down with Lyme disease, a bacterial infection spread by ticks.

"I had no idea a bug bite could do this," she told People magazine. "I was bedridden for five months. I felt like I couldn't breathe, I couldn't talk and I couldn't move. I thought I was dying."

Lavigne was able to overcome her bout with Lyme disease and seemed to be in top form as she delivered a beautiful performance of her song, "Fly," on July 25 in front of a stadium of onlookers and a national television audience. Video and lyrics are below...

"Fly"
Written by Avril Lavigne, David Hodges and Chad Robert Kroeger. Performed by Avril Lavigne.

There's a light inside of all of us
It's never hiding you just have to light it
It's the one thing that you gotta trust
It's like a diamond, you just have to find it

So if you ever feel like giving up
Yeah, just remember that.. we were all meant to fly

Spread your wings across the universe
It's your time to—it's your time to shine
There's a light inside of all of us
Soon, you'll find that it's your time to fly
Your time to fly

A little help is all it ever takes
Somebody else to tell you it's worth fighting
A single step becomes a leap of faith
That's when you realize you started flying

So, don't you ever say you're giving up
No, there's no looking back... 'cause we were all meant to fly

Spread your wings across the universe
It's your time to—it's your time to shine
There's a light inside of all of us
Soon, you'll find that it's your time to fly
It's your time to fly

Just reach up, don't give up
Until you've touched the sky
Just reach up, don't give up
Until you've realized...

That we were all meant to fly

Spread your wings across the universe
It's your time to—it's your time to shine
There's a light inside of all of us
Soon, you'll find that it's your time to fly, fly

It's your time to—it's your time to shine, shine
Soon, you'll find that it's your time to fly

Spread your wings across the universe
It's your time to—it's your time to shine
There's a light inside of all of us
Soon, you'll find that it's your time to fly


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.
November 30th, 2015
Since 1940, the Williamson Mine in Tanzania has been one of the world's few sources of gem-quality "bubblegum" pink diamonds. On Friday, the mine's owner, Petra Diamonds, announced that it recovered an extremely rare 23.16-carat pink diamond of exceptional color and clarity.

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The mining company described the gem as its most significant recovery from the mine to date and will offer it for sale in Antwerp next month as part of Petra's December tender process. It is said to be of a much better quality than the 16.4-carat diamond recovered at the same mine in September 2014. That stone was sold for $2.2 million.

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Vivid pink diamonds of exceptional size and quality are highly coveted in auction circles. Earlier this month, for example, a cushion-shaped 16.08-carat pink diamond was purchased by Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau for $28.5 million ($1.7 million per carat), setting an auction record for any vivid pink diamond. The gem’s selling price slightly exceeded Christie's pre-sale high estimate of $28 million.

“Pink diamonds are only found in a handful of mines throughout the world and their rarity ensures that they are one of the most highly coveted of all the fancy colors,” the company said in a statement.

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The most famous pink gem originating at the Williamson Mine was unearthed back in 1947 and gifted that same year to Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip upon their wedding. The generous gesture was made by Canadian geologist John Williamson, who was the original owner of the mine.

The 54.5-carat rough diamond was cut into a round brilliant that weighed 23.6 carats. It was named the Williamson Pink and set into a flower-motif brooch in 1952 by Cartier. Some people believe that the Williamson Pink was the inspiration for the Pink Panther diamond of movie fame.

Even though the Williamson Mine has been operational for 75 years, geologists believe the mine still has significant production ahead of it. The mine, which sits atop the Mwadui kimberlite pipe, has yielded about 20 million carats, so far, but should generate an additional 40 million carats. The mine's average depth is only 30 to 35 meters, and theoretically it could continue to yield diamonds as deep as 350 meters.

It is believed that pink diamonds owe their color to the effects of intense pressure and heat while they were still deep within the earth. These factors caused distortions in the diamond's crystal lattice that influence the way the diamond absorbs green light, thus reflecting a pink hue.

Colored diamonds are in the elite 1% of the world's diamond production, and pink diamonds make up 1% of the 1%, noted gem expert Richard Revez in a December 2014 interview with the BBC.

The Williamson Mine is currently co-owned by Petra Diamonds and the government of Tanzania, which holds a 25% stake.

Credit: Petra Diamonds; Christie's; Google Maps.